The giant breed dogs used in our program provide a living counter-weight to prevent a child from running off unsupervised. The dogs are trained to brace and lay on the ground to prevent a child from going beyond the length of the tether – usually no more than 6 feet from the adult team member. An analogy might be an anchored boat that is free to drift around in a large circle while in harbor. Just as the anchor keeps the boat safe from drifting too far and running aground, the tether prevents the child from running away and placing themselves in danger. In turn, this promotes peace of mind for the parent and makes available numerous activities that were not considered before due to the associated danger, such as grocery shopping, restaurants, the library, swimming lessons, movies, etc.
An autism anchoring service dog promotes safety by preventing the child from running away, managing the risk by limiting the distance they can go from the handler. This fundamental behavior is the basic tenant for all of our anchoring dogs – to hold their ground and seek stability. What results is your autistic son or daughter is always within close proximity to the service dog and to you. This reduces the likelihood of accidental harm, and provides reassurance to the family during normal outdoor activities.